Hundreds show support for family of 15-year-old alleged murder victim Cassius Turvey
Noongar Yamatji boy Cassius Turvey was remembered as a life taken too soon at a Geraldton candlelight vigil on Monday night, filled with prayers, poems, anti-violence messages and 15 crosses staked into the ground — representing each year of Cassius’ short life.
More than 150 people attended the Mitchell Street Community Centre in Spalding as the Yamatji nation, members of Cassius’ extended family and supporters gathered to honour the 15-year-old, allegedly murdered in a “racially motivated” attack in Middle Swan while walking home from school with friends last month.
The vigil began with a welcome song as five children stood tall in front of the noiseless mob, holding signs marked #Forever15, Justice for Cassius and Black Lives Matter.
The children dressed in Halloween costumes to symbolise Cassius’ favourite time of the year.
Fifteen children stood up as Buccaneers player Johny Narkle hammered 15 crosses in a straight line into the ground in front of them. The crosses were a symbol used to reflect on the 15 years of Cassius’ life.
A testimony was read during the vigil from Cassius’ mother Mechelle Turvey, a Yamatji woman herself.
“I am the only person who can get justice for my son ... I don’t want any form of violence, at any of these rallies in the name of my child,” she stated.
“Cassius was liked and loved by so many people on first contact, ranging with kids of similar age groups to teachers, everywhere. There was no reason for anyone not to like him.
“He was the heart and soul of the community.”
Visitors were welcomed to say a prayer or words of comfort before candles were lit. A Maori song and Haka was performed to symbolise unity between Indigenous cultures.
Relative Darin Turvey took the opportunity to share fond memories of the 15-year-old taken too soon.
Cassius was Darin’s youngest second cousin. He said he’d met Cassius a few times, and the boy was always hip-to-hip with his father.
“They were very close,” he said.
Cassius’ death came just a month after his father passed away.
Mr Turvey said he worried about his grandchildren since the attack.
“It was absolutely shocking, especially knowing what happened. When you have children yourself, I’ve been thinking about them,” he said.
“It’s good to see so many multicultured people getting together because we all have that feeling for our children and for all kids in general.”
Ray Dann knew Cassius’ father, they lived together in the same suburb in Perth. He said the family were nothing short of great people and got on well.
“Every time I ran into them, we always had a yarn,” he said.
“Not being able to see the family, it’s very important to be here. It’s just to show I’m thinking about them fellas down in Perth.”
Mr Dann said working closely with children, it was a horrible thing to hear when any child is hurt.
“Emotionally, it just gets to me. I’m an emotional person, and when it comes to kids,” he said.
Mr Dann said he was proud to watch his grandchildren dressed up and holding signs for justice for Cassius’ vigil.
“The little ones they carried the signs, and when I saw them standing up here, I thought I had to stand with them,” he said.
Halloween chocolates and lollies were handed out with candles to end the ceremony held in loving memory of Cassius.
Poet Nola Gregory wrote a poem, called Wings for Cassius, and read it out at the vigil.
Meanwhile, in Perth, drone photos taken from above the vigil at Midland Oval showed a huge turnout of thousands and immense support being shown for the Turvey family, as they grieve the loss of their beloved Cassius and fight for justice.
WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch and Police Minister Paul Papalia were seen in the crowd, paying their respects to Cassius’ mum, Mechelle Turvey at the vigil at Midland Oval.
Rallies will be held around the country on Wednesday, including at Geraldton’s Edith Cowan Square at 10am.
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